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#Talleyban. Standard Exclusive: MWU Blacklisted by Boss

Written By: - Date published: 10:07 am, August 10th, 2015 - 82 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, boycott, class war, democracy under attack, jobs, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags: ,

Today’s strike and rally by 1000 members of the Meat Workers Union at AFFCO plants has been called off.

This came about after a meeting yesterday with MWU AFFCO Shed Delegates and Andrew Talley, organised by Iwi leaders, Tuku Morgan and Ken Mair. No agreements were reached.  Workers still continue on their awful, inferior individual agreements.

Andrew Talley promised that negotiations will be held some time in the next two months, but only with a union they approve.

This effectively means that the owners of the company will determine who represents the workers. Not only does this cut across our obligations in the ILO, it may also break current employment legislation that requires that an employer cannot put pressure on a worker about joining or not joining a union. It’s a sham.

Andrew Talley told the delegates that his family will never settle a collective with the NZ Meat Workers Union.  So much for good faith bargaining!

A compromise of having the workers join another established union was also put forward and rejected by Talleys. They want a compliant, company approved organisation, not a democratic union that will put workers first.

Iwi have promised to help the AFFCO workers to set up a new union and to be at the table. Cold comfort that a former right wing MP will have an influence on how that union will look.

During the day, NZMWU President Mike Nahu and the CTU’s Helen Kelly were consulted.  Both did their utmost to find solutions, but all their suggestions were rejected by Talleys.

After the talks, shed delegates went back home and started telling workers not to strike. A couple of sheds had meetings, but it was all over.

Many workers are understandably upset and confused. It’s not the workers’ fault.  They are desperate.  Life is shit working for this company.  The brighter future just clouded over.

The promise of a new AFFCO only union, with Iwi looking over the shoulder, has convinced the shed delegates there might be a brave new way. It might work, but it’s hard to see how separating out a group of workers from other sheds and firms, and relying on Talleys to do the right thing can make a difference. Talleys want to divide and conquer and the history of company unions in New Zealand is bleak. None have achieved anything of note and none have been effective in stopping claw backs on wages and conditions.

It’s possible that setting up a new union will be a way through a bargaining impasse.  Another view is that Talley’s has just achieved a union busting master stroke.

Kia kaha to the workers and their real union.

I’ll be continuing to #talleyban until the MWU get a collective in place at AFFCO. And, no, I don’t care how long that takes. Principles are for life and the union forever.

82 comments on “#Talleyban. Standard Exclusive: MWU Blacklisted by Boss”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    I’ll be TalleyBanning! for life or a collective whichever comes first! and encouraging others to do the same

    this is a rotten company through and through that greases up locals at home base, is a major donor to the National Party and now more openly than even at Open Country Cheese, a union buster (courtesy of the Nats March law enabling bosses to walk away from bargaining–could have been almost written by Talleys)

    while loathe to criticise a union without knowing every detail I know the NZCTU have put considerable resources into the MWU and gained not enough turnaround if the likes of Ken Mair and Tuku have such sway, it is time for the whole movement to take on Talleys

  2. Skinny 2

    Sounds like divide and rule tactics. A yellow Union being setup, a company approved one at that.
    Not good enough for me. Unless scumbag Talley’s are back at the table with the Meat Workers Union by Thursday week, myself and other activist groups will be picketing our local Pack N Slave publicly promoting a Talley Brands boycott. This action is independent of meat workers.

    Talley’s are lobbyist’s to the National Government which has resulted in the rights of workers to belong to a collective agreement being stripped and the weakening of health & safety regulations. They have made large donations to National to achieve their enslavement goals.

  3. esoteric pineapples 3

    Those who think a new union will work will find out soon enough that they were duped. Hopefully there will be some way back once they do.

    Such cases remind me of the numbers of time in English history that peasants (using that term in the best sense) who revolted and marched on London were convinced by those in power that their concerns would be heard and acted on, and then marched home again, only to find their leaders and many compatriots hung, drawn and quartered.

    One of the examples I only just read about was the “Pilgrimage of Grace” during the reign of Henry the Eighth. Northern Englishmen marched on London, were convinced that Chief Minister Thomas Cromwell was the problem, got told by Henry that all would be okay, went home, and then Henry told his men to deal to severely to them.

    • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 3.1


      I suspect this neo-liberal power grab of the last 30 years is not unique and not really about ideology. It is part of a long power struggle between the powerful elite determined to ensure public policies are solely for the benefit of the few, the rich and well connected individuals/families versus empowering the many, the wider community with public policies geared for their benefit.

      Currently the rich, powerful and well connected ‘elite’ are winning.

      • aerobubble 3.1.1

        So explain why we dead set against planning, laying out metro lines for our biggest city; intro forward looking building rules that both allow height growth but also introduce context, buildings in keeping with their surrounds. Because your implying that the nz elite are genious, they are not. Just look at tpp. Why are we even considering milk in the mix let alone making it a deal breaker. Every country has babies who need milk and who will be safer and more economical fe by home grown milk. We have this absurd belief that the world will need our protein, like they want to keep buying with hard foreign currency when they know there will be demand at home. Who does that, nobody, the eu is returning to milk mountains because of climate change risks, surplus is the norm, scarcity destablizing.

        So why are we dithering about public transport, greater density, greater depth and breath to our economy. Because farmers are told bulk is the future, commodities easily tradable, you kno what Key used to do. Our niche is high quality, our culture should be foodie, but instead of kids growing up with access to a range of foods, a cult of foodies, we shove water filled aged dairy cows to them. We need a vertical economy high quality foods for exports, well fed and trained foodies, a culture of eating out, and exporting lifestyle.

        Just look how France does it, subsidizes its eateries. Loosen planning so we can have restaurants on the cycle ways of nz, tax relief for restarants etc.

  4. Anno1701 4

    wonder if Talley has a gang of “strike breakers” waiting in the wings with the axe handles & such ?

    where are the Molly Maguires when you need them 🙂

  5. tc 5

    They’ve always enjoyed the support and backing of the NACT so this comes as no surprise as they got to author the legislation and grab a knighthood.

    We haven’t bought talleys for years based on their exploits in our fishing industry.

    • Heather Grimwood 5.1

      to TC : I too have boycotted Talleys for years. A moral conundrum though if employees albeit now disgustingly paid and treated, were to lose jobs through major falling sales. I know that sane heads of those who believe in social justice will…MUST…prevail. We must unitedly back Helen Kelly and other wise heads in advancement of the situation.
      The alternative ( this thumping the fascist strongarm stuff ) would only proliferate,

      • Macro 5.1.1

        Same here – nothing produced by Talleys will ever find its way into my shopping basket – ever.

  6. Charles 6

    “During the day, NZMWU President Mike Nahu and the CTU’s Helen Kelly were consulted. Both did their utmost to find solutions, but all their suggestions were rejected by Talleys.”

    This is the Helen Kelly from CTU that Talleys lawyers sent a letter to two weeks ago saying they didn’t recognise her or her organisation, didn’t want to talk to her, and would seek costs from? Doh!

    Nah, Talleys have lost already. They just don’t realise it yet. Posturing and irrational jabbering, is all.

    If I was editor of a newspaper, I’d do a three page story on Talleys, and living the life working for Talleys. At least five angles spring to mind, three full pages ought to do it. I reckon you could get a pretty good image of the entirety of the NZ condition in that one story. Pity we don’t have newspapers or journalists anymore.

    • joe90 6.1

      Nah, Talleys have lost already.

      Dollars to donuts Ken Mair invoices Talleys.

    • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 6.2

      Why doesn’t someone write the articles and put it up on the internet. It would just cost some time. There are plenty of websites with dedicated publishing tools.

      I am sure once the stories are online then the likes of TheStandard will link to them.

      If MSM is not representing the people then the people should just bypass MSM…….

  7. Ffloyd 7

    Boycotting Talleys

  8. Brigid 8

    But why has the Meat Workers Union called off the strike?
    Surely talleys refusal to negotiate, with the union the workforce chooses, is more reason than ever to strike.
    If Talleys have the legal right to refuse to negotiate with any particular union, there is no point in any union. At all.

  9. Pasupial 9

    I like Minto’s suggestion over on TDB:


    Which is the greater vandalism – Talley’s or those who take direct action against them?

    • Puckish Rogue 9.1

      I agree with the direct action, unions should pool their considerable resources and start their own businesses and run them along union lines and show just how profitable they can be

      • Why should they do that? Unions are about getting a fair share within existing businesses. However, you’re right to a point; unions are extremely good at profitably running enterprises entirely based on a voluntary contribution business model. There is much that can be learned from how they do that.

        • Puckish Rogue

          Why should they do that? Because instead of striking and industrial action which really only affects the worker the unions can show how much more money businesses could make by running it the union way

          Once these union run business show how profitable they are its convince non-union businesses to do likewise and if it doesn’t well then use the profits to build more businesses

          • te reo putake

            But that don’t need to set up business to do that. The example is already there to be seen. Nah, I think you’ve completely misunderstood what unions do and who they do it for. Why am I not surprised?

            • Puckish Rogue

              Thats the thing though isn’t it, the unions have the money, have the workers and can certainly find the contracts so theres no reason unions couldn’t do this except its easier to tell the owners what to do instead of doing it yourself and putting your own money up as well which, lets face it, is the real reason why the unions don’t want to do it

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Why do you hate the freedoms of expression and association, trash?

                • Puckish Rogue

                  What are you on about?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Your hatred of human rights, you piece of shit.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      Its far too early to be smoking up you son of a motherless goat but please show me where I’m against freedom of expression and association

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Does anyone else require an explanation of my conclusion that this scum hates kiwi workers’ freedoms of expression and association?

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      Stop smoking the bong OAB, I never said that people shouldn’t join unions nor did I say unions should be outlawed so save the histronics or you’ll give yourself a heart attack 🙂

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yeah, then when they exercise their freedom you spread hateful lies about them, trash.

                      Why are you scum? What the fuck is wrong with your morality and ethics? Isn’t there enough cancer in the world?

                    • Puckish Rogue


              • No. The reason why they don’t want to do it is because it’s not what they are about. Any chance you’re equally keen for government to be involved in business? We’d certainly find some room for agreement there, comrade!

          • Matthew Whitehead

            You’re thinking of co-operative businesses. There’s definitely a place for them, and they have strengths in areas that corporate businesses don’t. (and weaknesses in other areas too) But that’s not what a union is for, and if we want more co-operative businesses, we should ideally be looking at measures to encourage setting them up, rather than trying to change what unions are for.

        • Coffee Connoisseur

          Why shouldn’t they do that.
          especially based on unions are extremely good at profitably running enterprises entirely based on a voluntary contribution business model.

      • Skinny 9.1.2

        No need to do that a efficient & effective Union gets the Bosses to pay for everything 🙂

      • Pasupial 9.1.3

        Perhaps you should read the linked post before spouting off? That way you would have a chance of sounding a bit less like an PR spinning bullshitter.

        But to address your spurious notion: That would be very indirect action. The union members acting through a union intermediary to form a cooperative would then require another union to represent them independently of the management of their then workplace. That’s the entire fucking point of the OP; that an employer organised union is unlikely to have the interests of the workers as their foremost priority.

        But you know all this already, and are just trying to muddy the waters as is your standard technique. I really can’t be bothered with that shit & have better things to do. Have the last word if you want.

        • Puckish Rogue

          Thanks I will. I really am interested in knowing why when you have an orginisation with plenty of cash, plenty of workers, plenty of contacts, plenty of lawyers and as much knowledge of business dealings as anyone that it doesn’t set up its own businesses

          Imagine what would happen if a union set up its own company to take on Talleys and did well under union rules

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            “Plenty of cash”.

            Why do you tell lies to make your feeble attacks, sewage?

            • Puckish Rogue


              Some of those union have thousands of workers and thousands of works all paying dues is quite a handy chunk of cash wouldn’t you say

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Yes, the figures demonstrate your malice and bad faith quite clearly.

              • Colonial Viper

                Some of those union have thousands of workers and thousands of works all paying dues is quite a handy chunk of cash wouldn’t you say

                A pittance compared to the financial resources of the Talley empire.

                • Puckish Rogue

                  Yes but businesses have to start somewhere don’t they and if you have some money (unions do), experienced workers (unions do), business knowledge (unions do) and contacts in whatever industry you start up in then you don’t really have much of an excuse to not start up business (using whatever business model you choose)

                • Coffee Connoisseur

                  I think puck raises a valid point, for what is the Talleys Empire without the workers.

          • Anno1701

            because at that point it would cease to be a union, and become a food/agriculture business

            this is pretty much common sense PR, you can do better than that !

            Its like saying if the mouse is sick of being harassed by the cat, it should just become a cat….

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              It’s more like being another cat, and viciously taunting the mouse as it gets eaten alive. Except that animals don’t really go in for right wing values.

            • Puckish Rogue

              Only if the mouse has the same tools as the cat which a union does, in fact you could argue that it’d be easier for a union to start a business vs joe bloggs starting a business

              So run the business as a co-op along union rules then, its not difficult but man you guys really are stick in the muds eh

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                More lies. Are you really so shite at arguing for your hate?

                • Puckish Rogue

                  Have a snickers mate 🙂

                  • Anno1701

                    [deleted ]

                    [lprent: You are on moderation for a while. Don’t advocate violence in any form or you will get your ability to write here rescinded ]

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      I thought that since OAB probably has some wicked munchies he’d appreciate an appearence from the lefts bete noire giving him some sage advice 🙂

                    • Anno1701

                      [lprent: deleted]

                      [No need to suggest violence. Henry is already slowly dying on TV3 every weekday morning. TRP]

                      [lprent: I’ll defer to your generous moderation. However if he does advocate violence again, then he gets a minimum ban of 4 weeks. r0b convinced me a long time ago that we should have zero toleration for *any* form of advocation of violence, “playful”, unintended or otherwise. ]

                    • Anno1701


                      [Happy to just make it a ban, if you’d find that more exciting? TRP]

            • Coffee Connoisseur

              Soooooo your point is…..?
              I’m pretty sure that if the mouse could become the cat, it would. It can’t.
              The unions can aid workers in becoming the cat however.
              Unions could and possibly should look at helping start worker co-operatives.

              Perhaps it could be a last resort if negotiations with the likes of Talleys don’t go as they want them to.
              Sometimes society doesn’t think outside the box often enough and with the levels of automation coming perhaps this should be looked at more and more.
              In fact this would be a good move and one that arguably should be looked at by the unions from this point forward.
              Because then this time around the benefits of automation would be realised where they should be. For the benefit of the workers.
              This is about to become more important than ever.

  10. Malcolm 10

    If this is true then I am absolutely disgusted! No scab union!

  11. Just to let everyone know who donated to the Give a Little site : your donation will be refunded. We really appreciate everyone’s support and generosity. Hard day.

    • Thanks, Darien. I hope the rest of the union movement will learn from this experience and plan accordingly.

    • Skinny 11.2

      You are doing a great job for the meat workers Darien. Without your proactive campaigning Talley’s would continue carving up these workers. Some of us still intend
      carrying out promoting boycotting Talley’s brands till such time as they recommence negotiating a collective agreement with the authorized Meat Workers Union, not some yellow Union Talley’s chose.

  12. Bill 12

    I’m missing something here. I’ve read the post and comments a few times to no avail.

    There was a strike slated for today.
    Talleys stated they won’t settle a collective agreement with the MWU.
    Strike called off.

    Like Brigid, I can’t quite figure the logic.

    I just go round in circles and wind up in the same astonished place hemmed with question marks and exclamation marks.

    I’m a worker who has joined a union so the union can negotiate my terms and conditions.
    The employer essentially tells the union to go get fcked.
    The union tells its members that they’re pulling planned strike action.

    What am I missing? Anyone?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      Mair and Morgan clutching at power and relevance?

      Perhaps the MWU lawyers figure that they’ve now got Talley over a barrel, the way he ran off at the mouth. Telling workers who they’ll have represent them? Constructive dismissal much?

    • Talleys have given the unionised workers an ultimatum, Bill; abandon your union or lose your collective. The Tainui reps have tried to be the honest broker and have said that they will assist forming a new, yellow union that can negotiate an inferior document based on the expired collective. If the workers accept that position, they will be offered work. If they don’t they can remain unemployed during the season.

      Under the new legislation, there is very little alternative, barring an all out strike. And it appears there isn’t the strength to take that fight on.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2.1

        The alternative, surely, is to seek remedy in the courts. In the meantime the workers can go back to work assured of legal victory.

        Talley’s hatred is on show for all to see. What will a judge make of his attempt to deny human rights?

      • Bill 12.2.2

        So there’s an existing Collective Agreement. Okay. Admittedly I stopped keeping abreast of ERA changes a wee while back, so have to assume that it’s no longer the case that an expired Collective continues until negotiations are concluded.

        Meanwhile I thought union density in meatworks was solid, but from what you’re saying, I guess not.

        Anyway, just absently saying out loud that there must be some effective course of action workers can take that preserves their union status and their jobs/ incomes while hitting Talleys hard in the back pocket – that being the only place that hurts employers.

        • Malcolm

          Hi Bill,

          The collective expired at least 18 months ago. (A CEA’s terms and conditions continue for 12 months after expiry.) Some of the MWU members have had to sign inferior IEAs just to get back in the door in the new season. Talley’s are the first employer to apply for the bargaining to be declared concluded by the court.

          From reading the posts on the Tally’s AFFCO workers’ support FB page it seems that is was an incredibly undemocratic process to call the strike off. The shed presidents called it off. Higher-up MWU officials were not involved in this decision. It seems to me to be a completely disastrous one and I hope the members manage to hold their shed presidents to account.

          • Bill

            Thanks Malcolm. That missing piece of info…it all begins to make sense now. Fuckettyfuckettyfuckettyfuck!

  13. Anno1701 13

    Company (yellow) unions are contrary to international labour law are they not ?

    (see ILO Convention 98, article 2)

    The USA banned them for this very reason ( an organisation that is not freely elected by the workforce) i believe ?

    • Bill 13.1

      The Warehouse in NZ. I believe they have an ‘in house’ union.

      • te reo putake 13.1.1

        The Warehouse People’s Union was formed under the ECA, but in recent times, most workers have opted to join a proper union ( the NDU, I recall). The WPU was kept at arms length from the Warehouse, so it was nominally independent.

        However, the circumstances surrounding the proposed new union at AFFCO kind of make it clear it that it will not be genuinely separate from the company, so it quite possibly be in breach of NZ’s ILO’s commitments. No doubt the Minister of Labour will take an active interest. Or more likely, not.

      • Liam 13.1.2

        Warehouse employees are represented by First Union, (an amalgamation of the NDU and Finsec.) We successfully disbanded the Warehouse People’s Union a couple of years back and have been making gains for the workers there since

        We’re currently in dispute with The Warehouse as they have not been bargaining in good faith, are refusing to negotiate on payrise and are engaged in union busting activities.

  14. Colonial Viper 14

    Confiscate the company’s plant’s and hand them over the the workers as a worker owned co-operative. It’s the only way.

    • Skinny 14.1

      Or ramp up turning the public on them, and not just Unionised workers, family, friends the lot. Really looking forward to targeting Pack N Slave ‘another anti Union outfit. It will be covered by the media end of next week Thursday or Friday. Will post the action on which ever day it is.

      • b waghorn 14.1.1

        The best way would be to turn there suppliers the farmers against them. There is to many players in the meat game any way so it while it would cost jobs it would be a better thing if shit bags like galleys where drummed out of business

    • Bill 14.2

      For years I was proposing that unions ‘teach’ workers how to set up and run collectives and then negotiate in the current environment with that end goal in mind. (I think I did a post on it sometime here.)

      I kept being told that no-one in the union movement really knew too much about the necessary legal or managerial structures for collectives though. Hardly surprising and not really a criticism.

      On top of that and maybe partly explaining that, it’s just a fact of life that ideas of collectives kind of clash with ideas of unions.


      • adam 14.2.1

        We have the laws of the books to make this happen. I think it is way past time. I also think it may be the only way to revive the labour movement in the face of highly combative oligarchy.

        It would mean a change away from purist forms of trade unionism. A more industrial base approach is needed. I’m not sure the union movement as it stands is capable of that – even though some of the industrial changes have happened because of necessity.

        And before I hear the big ship argument, about how do we steer, or manoeuvre such a diverse group of working people. Working people understand democracy better than most, give them the democratic controls and this big ship will move. Act of faith on my part – well probably. But I came back to NZ and looked at the trade unions in horror, nothing in the last 15 years have convinced me they can cope with this violent, combative and nasty oligarch we face, nothing.

        I have nothing but best wishes for the AFFCO workers. No law says you have to be a member of just one union.

      • Simon Oosterman 14.2.2

        Hi Bill,

        I work for unions and have been suggesting something similar too. Workers management of the means of production is a core principle of Anarcho-Syndicalism and can include but is not limited to collectives. While collectives are undoubtedly better than corporates, under capitalism they can mean workers exploit themselves and can encourage some not to continue the fight for workers and community control of society.

        Kind regards,

    • Puckish Rogue 14.3

      No, no, no CV please see the above reasons as to why it couldn’t possibly work

      • adam 14.3.1

        As you have proven on here many times PR, you lack any understanding of economics.

        • Puckish Rogue

          Maybe but the unions could easily prove what they say is right and gain more people by starting and running their own businesses

          When people say they can’t because *insert excuse here* it simply shows that people know that unions can’t run businesses and need others to provide job for their workers

          [I really don’t want to ban you for trolling again, PR, so your next comment had better be issue based and moderator compliant. TRP]

          [lprent: I am surprised that you aren’t saying the same about churches, charities, and for that matter every part of the government apart from SOE’s. But they didn’t set up businesses did they – we did and National ripped us off.

          Basically that was the gentle way of describing your idea as being completely and utterly stupid in a form of there is only one model for any organisation – that of a profit making business built from the ground up.

          Next thing you”ll be suggesting that fire services should act as a business and entice potential customers by wandering around pointing out how flammable the place would be is some burning pitch was dropped about there. For instance this business example here. That would fit your model pretty well. I’ll suggest it to the next arsonist that I met who wants to build a business. ]

          • Skinny

            Your deliberately being stupid now. Unions are in the business of representing workers ‘not for profit’ as you suggest.

          • adam

            That was weak PR. Well this is a discussion of economics, so catch up. I say you don’t understand, and you repeat with the same lack of understanding. Syndicalism, which I support by the way – is worker control of the means of production. But it is not a viable option inside or alongside a capitalism system, because of the nature of capitalism is towards monopoly.

            Unions, don’t have to run business, actually when they go down that path, gangs take them over, and we have some great T.V. But, very little in the way of working peoples lives being better off. This being the experience in the USA. Here we have understood, why there is a distinction between unions and business. (Well you have not, but your ignorance can be cleared up by an education)

            So time to learn some history, some basic economics before your open your yapper again. Google is good, books are better.

  15. Update : Things are settling down. Workers are sticking with the MWU. True to form, Talleys treated their workers like shite when they returned to work. Refused to pay them and kept those being punished on night shift. MWU working with Iwi leaders, CTU and Runanga. We will stand by these workers. Whatever it takes.

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